For all you Doctor Who fans who might be living under a rock, the BBC official Doctor Who Twitter account released a sweet one-minute clip of “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” earlier today. From a pure content standpoint, we don’t see much – it is only a minute, after all. But, one minute is all I needed to see that we’re in for a treat. Yes, fellow Whovians, Jodie Whittaker is going to be the Doctor we all wanted her to be; just take look below to see what I mean!
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) September 28, 2018
Now I know many of you are probably thinking, “It’s only a minute! She’s a woman! #notmydoctor!” And to you I respond, stop being sexist pricks, scroll back up a little bit, and watch that video just one more time. Or 10 more times, like I have. Right now, all we have are subtle hints of what is to come; but, for me, from the moment she steps on screen, it’s obvious she was born to play the doctor.
Truly, watching these precious 61 seconds felt like seeing David Tennant emerging from the post-regeneration glow, chattering about Barcelona and new teeth. Of course, she won’t be David Tennant – we don’t want her to be, and the continued success of the show (in my opinion) relies on her unique take, rather than a rehash of glory day’s past. Still, her limited performance so far transported me back to the halcyon days, when Doctor Who was new and exciting and the Robot of Sherwood was not even a glimmer in Mark Gatiss’s eye.
With all this said, I still have a lot of questions about the new series, as I’m sure we all do. Even with the worn thin welcome of Steven Moffatt, will Chris Chibnall be able to pick up where he left off? The surprisingly gripping series 10 wormed Steven Moffatt back into my heart, and parts of me wonder if the trio of Bill, Nardole, and the 12th doctor weren’t given their time to spread their wings. Injection of new blood into a rapidly aging series is certainly a good thing; I just hope that Chibnall has the chops to fill the Moffat sized hole left behind by his departure. Fortunately, his work with Broadchurch and Gracepoint, as well as his previous writing credits on Torchwood give me hope that we’ll see a continuation of the quality we saw in series 10.
I also wonder how the dynamic of three companions, rather than the traditional one or two, will affect the flow of the show. The Doctor is no stranger to toting a cadre of bright eyed bushy tailed companions around the cosmos, but series 11 marks the fullest our little blue box has ever been (since the revival, anyway). We do get a glimpse of two of these companions – Yasmine and Ryan – in the 60 second sneak peek, but we have little insight into how the trio of Yasmine, Ryan, and Graham will work together and with the Doctor. So, the question remains: are 3 companions too much of a load for the TARDIS – and the show’s traditional 45-minute run time – to bear? Or will the increase in companions, as Chibnall puts it, provide all fans with a “relatable character” they can latch on to? We’ll have to wait and see, though I personally find myself looking forward to the increased Tardis load.
After all, companions interacting with each other and other temporary stowaways on the TARDIS, rather than just the doctor, have historically been strong points of the show. Amy and Rory provided a grounding distraction from the Timey-Wimey events encompassing their lives, while Nardol and Bill’s odd yet heartwarming relationship really gave season 10 a highlight that other Capaldi episodes didn’t really have. Though I think River Song’s inclusion is perhaps the best example of how a three-companion crew may not be as impossible as some might think. Fan favorite episodes like A Good Man Goes to War and The Wedding of River Song are among the best episodes of the Matt Smith era, and all three give each of the companions (and River) their just desserts. Even though River Song may have played the transient role, slipping in and out of the TARDIS during Matt Smith’s reign, it’s a prime example of what series 11 could be.
The one question I don’t have any longer, however, is whether Whittaker would be worthy to inherit the title of Doctor. It may have just been 60 seconds – and a handful of trailers, interviews, etc – but those 60 seconds make clear to me that her addition to the Doctor Who-verse is going to be fantastic. All there is left to say, is I simply can’t wait till October 7th.